If you don’t make a practice of listening to the YouTube videos that Rudy Ross and I produce, today would be a good time to listen. Rudy has some outstanding insights to share about leprosy, the offering that is made for cleansing, and how God transforms humans.
Jesus did what he said he would do.
When Jesus stated the purpose of his ministry in Nazareth, he alluded to the prophet Elisha.
He said, “There were also many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4.27).
Shortly after his confrontation in Nazareth, Jesus was approached by a leper. The leper fell on his face before Jesus and said, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean” (Luke 5.12).
Rudy explains in the YouTube video that the skin problem of leprosy was considered to be a reflection of the serious sin problem of the sufferer. They were to live outside the cities and villages. To approach Jesus was a violation of accepted behavior.
The leper didn’t know if Jesus would help him, but he believed that Jesus could cure his illness.
When we approach God, we are faced with the same questions as the leper.
(1) Is God willing to help me? Does God love me and care for me enough to come to my aid?
(2) Is God able to help? Does his power reach my condition?
Good News – Healing
Jesus’ message was that God’s kingdom had broken into the world. People were to repent and believe the good news (Mark 1.15).
What happened to the leper was certainly good news.
Luke records the way Jesus handled the man’s appeal for help. “Then Jesus stretched out his hand, touched him, and said, ‘I do choose. Be made clean.’ Immediately the leprosy left him” (Luke 5.13).
Like the demonized man and Simon’s mother-in-law (Luke 4.35 and 39), Jesus used the “prayer of command” to free the man from leprosy.
The leprosy left the man, as did the demon in the synagogue and the fever that made Simon’s mother-in-law sick.
Dr. Bill Beachy was a medical doctor during World War II. After the war, Bill attended seminary and became a hospital chaplain. Bill is the Chaplain Emeritus of St. Luke’s Hospital on the Plaza.
I was with Bill and several other pastors in a meeting at Maywood Baptist. One of the pastors told the group that he had been to doctors for a painful ankle, but had received no help.
In the length of time it took me to walk down the hall, get a cup of coffee, and return to the room, the young pastor had been healed. I learned that Bill gently held the man’s foot in his hand and invited the Holy Spirit to heal his ankle.
The good news of God’s kingdom is present in our age, just as it was good news in the first century.
Bill is a great example of the kind of person God uses to help heal others.
— He had a very close relationship with the Holy Spirit.
— He only prayed what the Spirit led him to pray.
— He so believed in the power of healing prayer that he stopped the practice of medicine and devoted his life to praying for the sick.
Make the Proper Offering
If you listen to Rudy on YouTube today, he will save you from having to read Leviticus 13-14. He will also explain how the appropriate offering was necessary for the man’s reentry into society.
Walter Brueggemann writes, “Jesus included people that other’s excluded and lifted up those whom society put down.” That’s exactly what Jesus did for the leper.
Not only the leper, but also the demonized man and Simon’s mother-in-law were returned to their regular lives by the presence of the King of God’s kingdom.
Jesus’ Pattern of Prayer
It won’t surprise you that my friend Dr. Bill Beachy was a powerful man of prayer. He carried himself with humble, quiet godliness.
Like every person of prayer, Bill learned from the example of Jesus.
Luke reminds us of Jesus’ pattern of prayer: “But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray” (Luke 5.16).
If Jesus needed frequent times of solitude and prayer, so do we. The most useful people in God’s kingdom are those who are in close contact with the heavenly Father.
God is not a vending machine, where we put in the right request, pull the lever, and get what we want.
God is our heavenly Father. He works in a relationship of trust and obedience that is learned in quietness and prayer.
I have referenced the video that Rudy and I produce for each Bible study. I lean heavily on Rudy for this passage. He will explain things from a study of the Old Testament that will enrich your understanding of this passage. The video can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.